Court Case has Miles to Go

The Thomas More Center reports on a court finding in favour of Rev. Austin Miles:

…a California state court has set aside a $1 million dollar default judgment [Michael] Newdow obtained against Reverend Austin Miles for libel.

The libel judgment was based on a news article written by Reverend Miles in which he opined that Newdow had lied to the court when he claimed his daughter was forced to recite the words “under God” as she was actually a Christian who willingly said the Pledge of Allegiance in school.

But that’s not quite what Newdow’s complaint was, as the AP reported at the time:

Newdow denied ever making the comments. “I never said that,” he said. “I only said she had a right to go to school and not be indoctrinated in religion.”

In other words, Miles accused Newdow of saying something which was a lie, while Newdow maintains that he never actually said any such thing. This distorted TMC press release has now formed the basis for other news reports, including one on Agape Press. Miles has also accused Newdow of being a traitor to the USA, since his lawsuit against the “under God” part of the pledge undermined America’s morale while the country was “still digging for bodies of loved ones buried under the rubble of the World’s Trade Buildings and the Pentagon”.

Newdow never expected to get the cash from Miles. But why has the latest court ruled in favour of Miles? Back to TMC:

After a lengthy hearing this past December, the court issued an order lifting the default judgment and allowing the case to proceed to trial. The court explained that Miles had made a sufficient showing that he lacked actual notice of the lawsuit to warrant the default to be set aside. The court explained that Miles’s lack of actual notice “was not caused by his avoidance of service or inexcusable neglect.”

That’s interesting. According to his profile on Blessed Cause, Miles had a very active 2003:

…even though felled by a stroke requiring some time off from duty, and dealing with “Pledge Atheist”, Michale [sic] Newdow who began stalking and harassing within a week after he learned about the stroke.

Miles wanted to have Newdow disbarred; it seems that when Newdow bit back, Miles suddenly became a frail old man being bullied by an heartless atheist (in the past, Miles has also been persecuted by the Assemblies of God, the FBI, and a deputy sheriff in California – see this entry). And in August 2003 WorldNetDaily reported:

The atheist activist whose lawsuit last year targeting the “under God” phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance – a case that sent shock waves across America and elicited public condemnation from President Bush and dozens of congressmen – yesterday agreed to drop the $1 million libel lawsuit he filed recently against WorldNetDaily.

Michael Newdow’s lawsuit – “Rev. Dr. Michael A. Newdow vs. Chaplain Austin Miles; Assist News Service; WorldNetDaily.com Inc.” – was served on WorldNetDaily last Thursday.

…In fact, the article to which Newdow refers, and from which he quotes, was not written, authorized or published or in any way connected to WorldNetDaily.com, but rather was published by the ASSIST News Service, and written by Rev. Austin Miles, the other two defendants named in the complaint.

The ASSIST article appeared in July 2002, and a couple of weeks later ASSIST published a “right of reply” from Newdow. But, despite all this high-profile legal action going on, and Newdow’s “harassment” of Miles, Miles never received notice of the libel action against him, and so didn’t show up in court.

Miles was in the news on another matter just last month, as the source for a disputed and very unlikely quote attributed to James Watt.

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